Smart cities are an AI-powered dystopia that’s already happening

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Separating the futuristic from the dystopian in the minds of the general public can be a challenge, particularly when trying to conceptualize a diverse technology such as AI recognition.

In today’s markets, a tangible example can be seen in consumer products such as the iPhone XS, with its Face ID facial-recognition unlocking. By and large, this has been warmly received, with the majority of complaints relating to UX and design, thanks to the removal of a fingerprint scanner, and the screen notch to accommodate the Face ID sensors. But what of more sinister applications?

The gradual progression of fingerprint identification into facial recognition could be seen as a soft introduction to more complex AI foundations, the likes of which are poised to be implemented across the infrastructure of the so-called ‘smart cities’ of the future. AI recognition R&D is rapidly progressing, and the near future will see the reach of the technology extend further.

Concentrated CCTV coverage in metropolitan cities such as London has long been a controversial topic, raising concerns of a ‘surveillance state’ among many civil-rights groups. As more sophisticated AI programs that make use of user recognition are developed, there is the theoretical potential of adapting this